Friday, 01 July 2011 14:58
Landrieu Appoints New Deputy Mayor Of New Orleans, Michelle Thomas
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Mitch LandrieuToday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that Michelle L. Thomas will serve as Deputy Mayor of Operations.  Thomas, who as Mayor Cory Booker’s Business Administrator served as the highest ranking non-elected official in Newark city government, became recognized as a leader who steered Newark, New Jersey’s budget through the worst economic crisis in that city’s modern history.  She is credited with cutting the city’s deficit by $107 million and securing more than $350 million in federal stimulus grants for the city. Most recently, Thomas served as a federal grants consultant at Washington, DC-based government affairs firm The Ferguson Group, LLC.

“I could not be happier to have such an experienced and well-respected individual like Michelle join our team,” said Mayor Landrieu.  “I have full confidence not only in her personal abilities, but in her ability to inspire those working with and for her in the various departments at City Hall to move our city forward. Her experience in helping Mayor Booker turn around Newark’s government will be nothing but an asset as we continue to transform the way our city government operates.”

In this new capacity, Ms. Thomas will directly oversee the delivery of many vital city services and will focus on improving our organizational effectiveness and efficiency.

“I am honored to be in New Orleans and to join Mayor Landrieu’s team,” said Thomas.  “I have learned how powerful collaboration can be in transforming organizations and communities and I look forward to working with city leadership, employees, and residents as we build on the foundation Mayor Landrieu and this team have laid in his first year in office.”

At The Ferguson Group, Thomas oversaw TFG Grants, the firm’s federal grant advisory practice, and helped clients to strategically pursue federal grant opportunities.

As Business Administrator, Thomas was responsible for the day-to-day operations of Newark municipal government, providing management oversight for water, sewer, transportation, budgets and finance, neighborhood and recreational services, emergency management, public safety, fire and health and human services. She previously served as Director of Innovation and Performance Management for the City of Newark. In that role, Thomas developed a performance management system to improve departmental performance and gave leadership to organizational restructuring efforts. In Newark, one of her significant achievements was the creation of the City’s Non-Emergency Call Center, which enables residents to access a wide range of municipal services.

The City of New Orleans will launch its own AskNOLA! (3-1-1) system later in 2011.

Thomas has held several other positions in government, private and non-profit organizations where she has been devoted to improving operational efficiencies in organizations that primarily serve low-income communities.  She also has experience in higher education administration, having served as assistant to the dean in the School of Continuing Studies at Northwestern University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Afro-American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“I am honored to have Michelle join the dedicated team that is leading our city’s transformation right now,” closed Landrieu. “We welcome her to her new home in New Orleans.”

In a departure from previous administrations, Landrieu chose the deputy mayor structure in May 2010 as an innovative way to make government more efficient and responsive. The streamlined structure allows for various department heads to report to the deputy mayor who is in charge of their specific policy or program unit.

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